Doctor Who’s returning showrunner Russell T Davies has addressed the clothing controversy behind David Tennant’s surprise regeneration, stating that he was “absolutely certain that the clothes would regenerate. Nothing could’ve changed my mind.”
In the recent finale last month, Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor regenerated and reintroduced David Tennant. Eagle-eyed viewers were keen to point out that Tennant’s regeneration included his suit. With the question hanging in the air, Davies has swept in to answer it courtesy of an interview with Doctor Who Magazine. Davies, who returns to the series after exiting in 2010, said he was “very certain” that he didn’t want “David to appear in Jodie’s costume.”
“I think the notion of men dressing in ‘women’s clothes’, the notion of drag, is very delicate. I’m a huge fan of that culture and the dignity of that, it’s truly a valuable thing,” Davies added. He said “it has to be done with immense thought and respect. With respect to Jodie and her Doctor, I think it can look like mockery when a straight man wears her clothes. To put a great big six-foot Scotsman into them looks like we’re taking the mickey.”
“Also, I guarantee you it’s the only photograph some of the paper would print for the rest of time. If they can pay with gender in a sarcastic or critical way, they will. We could have the Doctor dressed as a knight, or dressed as God, or dressed as William Hartnell, and the only photo they’d print would be of David in what they considered to be women’s clothes. Then it becomes weaponized – as a mockery of feminine traits, a mockery of drag, of that culture. So that was never going to happen.”
Tennant will join Doctor Who for a trilogy of episodes debuting in November 2023, coinciding with the sci-fi drama’s 60th-anniversary celebrations.